Virginia Marine Resources Commission
Permit Review and Compliance
Project Description as Proposed:
The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) is the state agency charged with managing the Commonwealth’s submerged lands, tidal wetlands, and coastal primary sand dunes.
Responsibilities in implementing core Coastal program permit functions are:
• Issuing permits for encroachments in, on or over State-owned submerged lands (approximately 3,000 applications are processed annually and permits are issued for encroachments over State-own submerged lands); and
• Regulating the use of development of tidal wetlands and coastal primary sand dunes.
• The goal of this effort is to eliminate unnecessary impacts to tidal wetlands and dunes and to maintain a permit review process based on public interest review procedures consistent with the public trust doctrine that fairly and timely balances private use of state owned submerged lands and the need to preserve habitat for sustainable fisheries.
Tidal wetlands and coastal primary sand dune programs may be administered by local wetlands boards if the County, City or Town has adopted the model ordinances (35 have chosen to do so); however, the VMRC retains oversight and reviews all local board decisions. These programs protect approximately 213,000 acres of vegetated tidal wetlands and provide for the regulatory management of 5000 miles of tidal shoreline including all primary sand dunes and beaches throughout tidewater Virginia. Program goals include project modification to reduce project impacts and to require compensation for all permitted vegetated tidal wetland losses.
Also, a comprehensive permit compliance and inspection program will continue to be implemented, whereby VMRC staff will inspect new construction projects permitted by the Commission, along with a representative sample of wetlands and dunes projects permitted by the local boards. The goal of the progam is to continue to maintain and improve permit compliance rates that have increased from approximately 50 percent when this progarm bagan to curent rates of approximately 90 percent of projects that are in complete complaince. This also includes a goal of reducing the number of projects found to be in moderate compliance as well as reducing the number of projects for which compliance can not be determined.
Tony Watkinson, 757.247.2255; Tony.Watkinson@mrc.virginia.gov
10/1/2009 - 9/30/2010; Project Completed
Final Product Received:FY09 Virginia Marine Resources Commission Permit Compliance Inspection Program Report
(pdf): Attachment B - Federal State & Local Permit App -November 2010
(pdf)Attachment C - Permit Placecard -November 2010
Project Summary Provided by Grantee:
The purpose of this grant project was to continue the implementation of a standardized permit compliance program for those permits issued by the Commission in the Coastal Zone. Commission staff also assessed permit compliance for wetland projects authorized in 2008. During the grant year (October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010) 371 compliance inspections were conducted by VMRC Habitat Management Division Staff. This involved 241 inspections of projects permitted by VMRC and 130 inspections of projects permitted by local wetlands boards.
While the overall data for the grant year shows that 93% of the projects permitted by VMRC were found to be in compliance, only 2% were found to be out of compliance. The remainder were either in moderate compliance (3%), or were not constructed. Although compliance could not be determined for -1% of the projects, inspections in these cases did not indicate there were any permit violations.
To date, the compliance-monitoring program has allowed evaluations of the effectiveness of our permit and monitoring procedures. As such, the monitoring program can only improve our resource management responsibilities. Therefore, permit compliance initiatives must continue to be a long-term effort if we are to ensure proper construction techniques and the protections of our valuable natural resources. This effort, combined with the improvement of our permit tracking database and use of GIS capabilities, is necessary if we are to realize the goal of making cumulative impact assessments a part of our wetlands and submerged lands permitting program.
Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email: Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov
A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov